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Sudan's Bashir ousted by military; protesters demand civilian government

Sudan's Bashir ousted by military; protesters demand civilian government

Sudan's defence minister has announced the arrest of President Omar al-Bashir and the creation of a military council to govern the country for the next two years, ending the 30-year rule of one of Africa's longest-surviving autocrats after four months of daily street protests against him.

The SPA, which is spearheading the protests, said they will only accept the handover of power to a civilian transitional government.

Putin met Bashir last July in Moscow where the Sudanese leader said Russian Federation was playing an important role in "preparing Sudanese military personnel".

The Sudanese military is expected to deliver a statement on state TV and radio shortly. He also declared a ceasefire across the entire country.

Troops deployed around the Defence Ministry compound and on major roads and bridges in the capital.

Al-Bashir, who became the first sitting head of state to be indicted by the ICC, has himself rejected the charges, saying that "these things are lies".

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of demonstrators marched through central Khartoum, some chanting: "It has fallen, we won".

With the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in London coming the same day as reports of Omar Bashir's removal as President of Sudan, it's worth noting the role that cables leaked by WikiLeaks had in exposing the corruption at the heart of Bashir's administration. The action of the military eventually siding with their fellow countrymen has helped bring Bashir's government down.

One of the world's most enduring dictators, he is a pariah in many nations and is wanted by an global court for war crimes committed in Darfur.

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Sudan has suffered prolonged periods of isolation since 1993, when the United States added Bashir's government to its list of terrorism sponsors for harbouring Islamist militants.

Protests began in December over the price of bread after the government ended subsidies. Instead, they demand a civilian transitional government.

A rally outside military headquarters in Khartoum demanding the resignation of President Omar al-Bashir has been ongoing since Saturday April 6.

"Only a credible and inclusive political process can meet the aspirations of the Sudanese people and lead to the political and economic reforms the country needs", Federica Mogherini, the bloc's foreign policy chief, said in a statement.

At least 11 people died in the violence, including six members of the armed forces, the information minister has confirmed. Security forces responded from the start with a fierce crackdown that killed dozens. The International Criminal Court in the Hague issued warrants for al-Bashir's arrest in 2009 and 2010 for genocide and crimes against humanity in Sudan's Darfur region.

Sudanese activists behind months-long protests against al-Bashir say hundreds who were detained over the demonstrations have already been freed.

Facing the most sustained challenge to his rule yet, Bashir had counted on steadfast support from the security establishment he had nurtured for three decades to see him through.

The Turkish leader has hosted al-Bashir in the past and defended him over accusations of war crimes, saying "a Muslim can not commit genocide".